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Balanced Beekeeping for All
POSTPONED to Spring 2023

Totnes, Devon

(see right hand panel for details)

For the first time in a decade, an opportunity to visit one of my own apiaries and see several types of hive in use. The weekend will be a mixture of indoor and outdoor activities, with ample opportunities for questions and discussion. Whether you are a complete beginner or have some experience of conventional hives and are curious about alternatives, you will find this weekend rewarding and engaging.

The total fee for the weekend is £115.00, including lunch and refreshments both days. If you wish to book two or more places, please email me for discounted prices.

There is car parking on site.


"Balanced beekeeping" is a continuous quest for the improvement of our relationship with bees. It recognises that keeping bees is not natural, because in nature, only bees keep bees. It acknowledges that our desire for honey may not be matched by the bees' willingness to give it up. It recognises that the bees have their own lives and they would probably prefer that we left them alone, however much we are kindly disposed towards them. It is a search for the best ways to be with bees.

Balanced Beekeeping courses comprise a mixture of illustrated talks, practical demonstrations and discussion. Questions are encouraged throughout. Teaching materials and methods are adapted to meet the needs of students as much as possible.

Can't get to a "real world" training?

Natural Beekeeping for Gardeners

On-line Natural Beekeeping interactive course with Phil Chandler

A four-module course in Natural and Balanced Beekeeping from the top online gardening school, with audio-visual teaching and commented assignments.

Whether or not you are a gardener, this course will give you a good understanding of bees and beekeeping on a domestic scale, which will form a sound basis for progression to a practical course. Suitable for complete novices.

Balanced Beekeeping for All

This two-day course is mainly aimed at people who want to keep bees in top bar and other "non-standard" hives. Whether you are a beginner or have some experience with conventional hives, you will find much to engage you. There will be a mixture of discussion, video and practical elements, with plenty of time to have your questions answered. Student notes are included.

  • Why do we keep bees?
  • What do you need to get started?
  • The lifecycle of a colony
  • The nature of honeybees and flowering plants
  • Principles and philosophy of balanced beekeeping
  • Principles into practice: how to get started
  • Hive design from the bees' point of view
  • How to attract free swarms
  • How to take a swarm from a tree
  • Your first year: what to look out for
  • How to recognise common pests and diseases and what to do about them
  • Feeding: what, when and how
  • How and when to take honey and other hive products
  • Your first winter: how to prepare and what to do
  • Your second year: getting to know your bees
  • Suggested reading: An Introduction to Balanced Beekeeping (free download)
  • Student notes will be provided. Bring your (clean) bee suit if you have one. Some observation suits available.

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© 2017 Phil Chandler    Friends of the Bees
natural, balanced beekeeping courses and training